T-Mobile, Anxious To Retain Customers, Drops Upgrade Fee - InformationWeek

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12/18/2008
03:46 PM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
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T-Mobile, Anxious To Retain Customers, Drops Upgrade Fee

There's nothing quite like getting a new cell phone. You may not mind the cost of the new phone or the service, but getting hit by that "upgrade fee" stinks. Beginning Dec. 17, that's something T-Mobile customers no longer have to worry about.

There's nothing quite like getting a new cell phone. You may not mind the cost of the new phone or the service, but getting hit by that "upgrade fee" stinks. Beginning Dec. 17, that's something T-Mobile customers no longer have to worry about.This one has always puzzled me. You serve out your two-year contract, head to the wireless store to upgrade, and pick out a new phone. You're all excited and feel good about being a loyal customer, which means you'll get a nice subsidy (price reduction) on your new cell phone. Once you get to the counter to pay for your new purchase, however, you're disappointed to be hit with an arbitrary fee. T-Mobile's upgrade fee is $18 -- or it was until yesterday.

Starting Wednesday, Dec. 17, the company is ditching the handset upgrade fee for customers. The elimination of the $18 upgrade fee applies across the board to all handsets (including the T-Mobile G1) and in all channels (e.g., retail, online, etc.).

A T-Mobile spokesperson said in an e-mail, "With consumers watching every dollar this holiday season, the savings come at a perfect time. Note, however, this is NOT a holiday promotion, as there is no specified end date. It's just another way T-Mobile is thanking its loyal customers."

This is a nice move, but comes three weeks too late, if you ask me. Think about all the people who upgraded their phones over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, or between then and now. It seems like a half measure, given the proximity of the holidays. T-Mobile didn't say if it would refund the fees for those who chose to upgrade prior to Dec. 17.

Anyone waiting until after the holidays to upgrade, however, can rest assured that the $18 fee will remain waived for a while.

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